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A friend of mine is creating a multiplayer dice game. The game rules are currently designed for 3-5 players, and don't require much of an investment for the PnP to create the necessary components. Only a 30 card deck needs to be printed, a lot of dice, and a pen and paper to keep track of score.

He has been struggling to come up with a solo variant, because he believes that a large majority of the PnP community either plays PnP games solo, or most PnPers like to try out the game by themselves before bringing it to their group.

This got me to wondering,

If you don't have a solo player variant, is your PnP likely to get played?

Do you also need 2, 3, 4, ..., player variants?

What is the optimal number of players for a game? Is the number of players that will play a PnP designed for 1 player the greatest, and as the number of players increases, the likelihood to find people willing to PnP decrease linerally (exponentially, or does the graph look like a bell curve?)

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Unless you are planning on having a 1-player version of the final product, I can't really see how having a 1-player PnP is useful... one player can just play for multiple colors/teams. –  The Chaz 2.0 Apr 22 '12 at 1:37
    
p.s. I love helping out developers (at least, as far as the past 2-3 PnP's have gone!). If your friend is open to having more play-testing, let me know :) –  The Chaz 2.0 Apr 22 '12 at 1:38
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@TheChaz, his plan was to add a solo play mode that kept the feel and intent of the 3-player game. He didn't want to have the solo player rolling for himself and two other player to play against himself. So far his modifications of the game haven't been too successful for keeping the feeling of the original game. That is his worry though, without a single player variant, he doesn't think he will get much I interest from PnPers. –  user1873 Apr 22 '12 at 2:51
    
It's probably a legitimate concern, although that could be true for any kind of game. I don't know that PnP is particularly struck by this any more than a $60 game - both require a commitment in acquiring the game. If the game requires a lot of user interaction to be fun, I wouldn't try to reduce it to its core mechanics just to make a solo experience that isn't indicative of the multiplayer game. –  Daniel Richnak Apr 23 '12 at 0:26
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is nothing particularly exclusive to print and play regarding solo play modes. They have the same problems as buy and play games.

There are a great many games that cannot adapt to single player, at least not while still being fundamentally the same game.

I would suggest to your friend that he can work on a different game, perhaps inspired by the first, that would play solo, and free him from the burden of making a solo mode that works.

You can check the geek lists at Board Game Geek Print & Play, and you'll see many of the top ranked games do not support 1 player.

As for an optimal number of players, you have averages, but there is no direct correlation between # of players and P&P popularity. Other aspects of the game (fun, gameplay, etc.) are more important.

A general statement about game popularity (not just P&P) does say that games that require a large number of players (>4) or do not support up to 6 players tend to get played slightly less compared to games of equivalent gameplay, this is only due to the obvious logistics involved in finding a game that fits the number of players you have.

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